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Herring Hall Marvin safe
Herring Hall Marvin sa  

Herring Hall Marvin safe
Herring Hall Marvin sa  
We have a very old Herring Hall Marvin safe that is rusted shut and we have not been able to open it. Is there a way to open it without ruining the contents inside?  Several people have suggested using concrete saw to cut it open.  Will that work?  What are our other options?  We can't use any kind of heat to open it because the contents inside will melt. The metal tag has

Hi Tad,

As usual, this is why you don't listen to friends or people who don't have a clue what they are talking about.   Concrete saws are designed to cut through concrete only - and may be small rebar.

While the body of this safe probably does have concrete in the walls, I also has a LOT of steel.

Lets start with the Safe Manufacturers National Association (SMNA) tag info.  You safe was built to comply with and/or as a Group 3 container, Specification B1.     SMNA was a rating or standards testing agency for safes, much like "UL".

SMNA Classification "Group 3" indicates a Round Door Chest, with a MINIMUM body thickness of 1" of steel, and a MINIMUM door thickness of 1-1/2" of steel.   Lug doors like this are also protected with drill resistive inserts or pins around any of the locking parts, and the body of the safe must also be case hardened steel or equivalent.  
Specification "B1" indicates that this would be considered a "Burglary Resistive Container".

Containers like this would conform to current UL TL-30 standards, though this container is considered obsolete.

Note:   We do not provide any information for opening safes on this site for obvious security and liability reasons, so other than providing basic options, you are pretty much on your own if you attempt the DIY approach.

1.  You can test dial all of the possible combinations for the lock installed, until you find the correct one which will open the lock.   If the safe is rusted badly, this may not open the door - in this case see option 2.

2.  Have the safe opened by a trained safe technician from a local safe company.   Not only should they be able to open it without destroying it, they should also be able to repair it and/or bring it back to operational condition.

Check your local yellow pages under safes & vaults for a company in your area.  If you don't have a safe company, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know in your area.

Hope this helps, or at least points you in the right direction.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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